Beaches, beaches and beaches – welcome to Thailand! Also, some forests, caves and a thumping night life!
1. In addition to the above official flag of the country, it also has certain royal flags which are hoisted alongside daily as a mark of respect to the monarchy.
2. The country’s name in the Thai language is “Prathet Thai” which means “the land of the free”. Could it have something to do with the fact that it is the only Southeast Asian country to never have been colonized?!
3. While you and I are living in the year 2020, the local Thai calendar is presently in year 2563! Their calendar has commenced from the year that Lord Buddha took birth.
4. Surely, you’ve heard of the country’s capital Bangkok but turns out that that isn’t actually its name. The official ceremonial name of the city is “Bangkok Amon Rattanakosin Mahintaraûtthaâ Mahadilok Phop Nopparat Ratčathani Burirom Udomratčanivet Mahasatan Amon Piman Avatan Satit Sakkathattijâ Vitsanukam Prasit”. I’m sure you got that in one go, easy peasy. ? The name’s meaning translates into “City of Angels, the great city of the immortals, the majestic city of nine gems, happy city, Abundant grand Royal Palace, reminiscent of the divine abode, where reigns reincarnated god, Vishvakarmanom erected by the will of Indra”.
5. The country greatly revers Lord Buddha and thus it comes as no surprise that it is home to the world’s largest statue of the god. Golden Buddha statue in Bangkok weighs 5.5 tonnes! Meanwhile, the country also holds the Guinness World record for the world’s biggest crocodile farm.
6. The Buddhist nation earlier had a practice wherein every male had to become a Buddhist monk for some part of their life prior to attaining the age of 20 years, including the king as well. The practice has been discontinued now.
7. Another greatly revered and loved person in the country is the King himself. Acts of disrespect against the king are actual punishable offenses. The country didn’t even permit the release of the Hollywood film “The King and I” in their territory because they deemed it disrespectful towards him.
8. The country is also home to the world’s smallest mammal. Thai zoologist Kitti Thonglongya discovered the Kitti’s hog-nosed bat or bumblebee bat which weighs less than 2 grams and is a mere 1 – 1.3 inches in length! Thailand is also home to the largest, the whale shark.
9. The above shouldn’t be much of a surprise because one tenth of the world’s animals along with one tenth of the world’s birds all call Thailand home. The Southeast Asian country actually has more bird species here than Europe and America combined!
10. The country also has a fish that can walk! Cryptotora thamicola is a species known to climb waterfalls using its front and back fins.
11. Once called Siam, this country is known to have recorded the birth of the first ever Siamese twins or conjoined twins in the world.
12. Meanwhile, the Instagram and Pinterest famous Siamese cats also hail from Thailand. In fact, it is customary to gift a bride these “moon diamond” (colloquial reference) cats as they are considered to bring good luck and prosperity to the marriage.
13. Speaking of customs, the country regards the head to be the most important or even sacred part of one’s body, so much so that one doesn’t touch the head of another person, not even a child unless unavoidable. In the presence of an elder person or authoritative figure you are expected to lower your head as a mark of respect. On the other hand, the feet are considered the dirtiest and showing one’s feet to another person can actually be deemed to be offensive. This belief is actually prevalent in a few other countries as well.
14. My dear culturally curious and foodie travellers, do tell me how far would you really go in the name of experience? Would you taste an exorbitantly priced dish….made from saliva? Yes, the country has a delicacy that is made using the saliva of the male cave dwelling swiftlet bird. It is actually one of the most coveted dishes on Earth! Is it because of the salty taste, the painstaking preparation or the whooping 900 USD (approximate) price?!
15. On the note of bizarre things, the country hosts the Phuket Vegetarian Festival annually which actually contrary to what the name might suggest, involves a lot of self-mutilation activities in order to purify the soul. It also has the annual Monkey Buffet Festival. No no, monkeys aren’t eaten in the festival, the buffet is actually laid for them! Meanwhile, my personal favourite is Songkran or the Thai New Year which is celebrated annually in the month of April and is arguably one of the world’s biggest water fights!
Trip Leader Niyati’s Recommendations:
One interesting fact about this country is that as per the OHOT family, in fact, even by my family in general, Thailand is my home country! Haha okay, fiiine, I guess that’s not as interesting but anyhoooo here are some suggestions for when you’re visiting this gorgeous country:
1. You must visit Phi Phi Islands! Why? Well, you can do scuba diving and snorkelling, even night snorkelling. You can go on island tours and see the beautiful beaches this country boasts of. You can go to mad and lively pubs on the beach at night, and even a pool party! You can catch some of the most gorgeous sunsets that go from orange to pink to purple. Most of all, because Phi Phi has a little something for everyone whether you’re craving adventure, or partying or even quiet time with nature. Because you walk around this tiny island for a few days you start to recognize people, you have your favourite shack, your favourite dish and favourite drink, and you experience what the romanticize to be the “island life”, just for a little while.
2. Meanwhile, for those curious about the cultural side of Thailand, visits to Wat Arun and the Grand Palace in Bangkok give a taste. However, if you’re looking to deep dive into this side you can head to the city of Chiang Mai.
3. If exploring the wildlife and marine creatures, excites you head over to Khao Sok National Park where you can live in the jungle in a cottage floating on water!
Click here to read about Khao Sok National Park in detail!
4. As for those who live the luxe life and want a beach vacation where they can take water sports and enjoy the laidback life, there’s Koh Tao. However, forewarning Koh Tao is relatively more expensive than a lot of areas of Thailand, so, choose wisely because other destinations also provide rather beautiful scuba and beaching experiences.
4. As for the ones who love to partaaaay, I’m sure Koh Phangan’s famed full moon party is quite an attraction. But in my humble opinion and experience it isn’t all that extraordinary so as to make the long journey there. On the other hand, Phuket’s vibrant pub street and Phi Phi’s beach hopping give one plenty of partying options!
5. And of course, since we’re talking about a beach destination, for the ones who can’t seem to get enough of the water, Krabi is a gem too. The 4 islands tour in Krabi takes you to some of the bluest beaches.
If you’re looking to explore this gorgeous country, then get in touch with us as we lead trips here every few months!
How to Reach:
Most major cities in India have direct flights to Bangkok. Selective cities have direct flights to Krabi and Phuket too, otherwise you can simply catch a hopping flight from Bangkok.
For visa kindly refer to the following page on our website: